Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oyster mushrooms go Asian

My celebration of the farmers market bounty continues with oyster mushrooms. If you have not eaten oyster mushrooms they are definitely worth a try. They have a soft, silky and  chewy texture and some people say they taste like seafood (probably the ones that grow in the wild). They grow in clumps. When shopping for oyster mushrooms, look for caps that are white, cream or taupe color with no dark spots that indicate spoilage or age. The stems should be firm and white. Oyster mushrooms don't require much cleaning. Lightly brush them with a kitchen towel and chop off the hard stem. If they are large, then you can tear them with your hands.

Oyster Mushrooms 

Usually I pair oyster mushrooms with leeks, white wine and cream and toss them in a pasta. But today, I have kept the same basic ingredients i.e. the mushrooms, leeks and the wine, but taken them Asian by adding soy sauce, malt vinegar, toasted sesame oil and Sichuan pepper salt. I have also added some cremini mushrooms to add bulk to the dish since I did not have enough oyster mushrooms, but you could omit the cremini mushrooms and cook this dish with only oyster mushrooms.

Stir fried Oyster mushrooms and leeks 

1/2 lb oyster mushrooms, hard stems removed and separated
1/4 lb cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 large leek, finely chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon rice wine
1 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon malt vinegar
1/2 tsp toasted sesame chili oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon Sichuan pepper salt (recipe follows)

  1. Heat a large skillet with canola oil and butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and saute till they are soft but not brown. Add the mushrooms and cook till the mushrooms begin to release some of their juices.
  2. Add the rice wine, soy sauce and malt vinegar and continue to cook till the mushrooms are cooked and all the liquid has evaporated. Drizzle the chili oil and mix well.
  3. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the Sichuan pepper salt. (You could skip this, and the dish would still taste good).
Serves 3

Sichuan Pepper Salt

1 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorn
2 tablespoons kosher salt
  1. Heat the salt and the peppercorns in a heavy frying pan over low heat, till the peppercorns give off their aroma. Shake the pan continuously to ensure it doesn't burn. Cool.
  2. Transfer to a spice grinder or food processor and blend till crushed. Store the powder in an airthight jar at room temperature. 
Uses: This powder tastes great over any fried food like tofu for vegetable or fish tempura

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